UGANDA: 137 households burnt to ashes in Kalangala to make way for palm oil

palm oil
Dwellers on this island live in temporary wooden structures that are too close to each other. Photo by Henry Lubulwa

KALANGALA (DAILY MONITOR) – 137 households have been burnt down in the fire that gutted Nkese Island, Kalangala District on Monday morning.
Nkese is a two-acre rocky island located in Bubeke Sub County near the Mwanza–Port Bell marine route.

Mr Stephen Kagiri, a local leader in the area told this reporter that approximately 30 engine boats, fishing nets worth Shs500m and household assets were lost in the fire.

“Many residents were left without shelter, food, clothing and other household properties. Many of our people have also have lost ARV drugs and can’t access treatment at the moment since their national IDs were also burnt,” Kagiri noted.

This is the second fire incident in the same Sub County in a space of only two weeks. On March 27, fire gutted fishing stores at Buyange Island leaving fishermen with losses estimated at 200 million.
Kalangala Red Cross manager, Ibrahim Ssenyonga, called on all stakeholders within the district to support the affected people with at least shelter.

“People mostly need shelter and drugs because many are vulnerable with no drugs especially those on antiretroviral therapy treatment,” he said.

According to the Kalangala Population Office, Nkese Island has a population of approximately 3200 people, who live on 7 acres of land. Dwellers on this island live in temporary wooden structures that are too close to each other.

It is the sixth time since 2009 that the island is gutted by fire.

The area Member of Parliament Carol Nanyondo Birungi, in a telephone interview said the disaster preparedness ministry should intervene and help residents in the area with food, shelter and clothing.

While on a visit in Kalangala District last month, President Museveni wondered why the area was too congested and asked district authorities to regulate the number of people that live in the area.

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